ST. LOUIS – Saint Louis head softball coach Christy Connoyer has announced the Billikens’ 2019 schedule. The slate includes 19 home games, eight opponents who finished among the top 100 in the final 2018 NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), and five teams who qualified for the NCAA Tournament.


The Billiken Spring Tournament, featuring teams from around the nation, takes place March 14-17 at the Billiken Sports Center. Archrival Dayton, 2018 undefeated regular-season champion Massachusetts (No. 59 in final 2018 RPI), La Salle and Rhode Island are the Billikens’ Atlantic 10 Conference home opponents. Nonconference regional rivals SIUE, Southern Illinois and Kansas City also visit St. Louis.


Saint Louis faces four 2018 top-50 RPI teams, all of whom played in the NCAA Tournament, in early-season tournament action. Drake (No. 31) is on the docket at Northern Iowa’s season-opening UNI-Dome Classic, while the Billikens take on Kentucky (No. 13) and Wichita State (No. 33) at Southern Illinois’ Coach B Classic. Kennesaw State’s Bailey Memorial Tournament will see SLU tangle with the host Owls (No. 43).


In its final regular-season tournament, the Billiken Spring Tournament, Saint Louis battles Northern Illinois, Northern Colorado, Omaha and Detroit Mercy. A non-tournament game vs. Loyola Chicago March 14 is the Billikens’ home opener.


Notable among the Billikens’ road opponents are defending A-10 Tournament champion and NCAA Tournament qualifier Fordham (No. 89 RPI), Southeast Missouri State (No. 74) and Missouri State (No. 84).


“The schedule will test us from opening weekend through the end of the season,” Connoyer said. “The early-season tournaments expose us to a great variety of opponents from highly competitive conferences, and I’m proud to say that one of those tournaments is our very own. We have a solid group of teams from four different states coming to St. Louis, and I know our fans will support and thoroughly enjoy the competition.


“Our tournament is part of an attractive and busy home schedule,” Connoyer said. “We have an exciting mix of A-10 and nonconference opponents coming to town.


“Our players made great strides during a very competitive fall,” Connoyer said. “With a solid group of upperclassmen, a sophomore class that produced three A-10 All-Rookie selections last year, and a talented freshman class, we’re ready to continue developing a team that will be a strong contender in the A-10.”